The Book of Romans reflects the “Principles for Christian Liberty.” In essence, it is a reminder, through the Apostle Paul, to the saints in Rome, that the shackles of bondage have been broken (past tense) and we have been made FREE (present tense) from the bondage of sin and its devastating consequences. Jesus carried the weight of the sin of the world all the way to Calvary’s cross as the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind. Similarly, in the Old Testament of the Bible, there was a prophet whose assignment was fulfilled when he warned an entire nation – Judah – about their ungodly ways and the punishment that would proceed. Through his intervention, Judah was spared.
Zephaniah, a prophet of God, whose name literally means “the Lord hides or protects,” was the great, great Grandson of King Hezekiah and the only prophet of royal descent. He was an “11th-hour” prophet to the nation of Judah who gives a stern warning about the coming day of the Lord about 630 B.C. The Book of Zephaniah is only three chapters in length, yet his pronouncement saved this nation along with its close neighbors – Assyria, Ethiopia, Moab, Ammon and Philistia.
For starters, Zephaniah’s actions teaches us the valuable lesson to ‘Ask God for Help.’ Psalm 55:1 (NIV) says, “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea.” All decisions and problem solving begins with prayer.
Zephaniah’s actions are documented as follows:
Chapter 1 – Judgment was declared by God upon the whole earth (verses 1-3) AND the description of the judgment was pronounced (verses 14-15)
Chapter 2 – Call to repentance (verses 1-3)
Chapter 3 – The promise of restoration (verses 14-20).
Wow!!…isn’t God good? Imagine what God will accomplish, through you, if you said “yes” to your assignment?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to live out the principles of Christian liberty as You’ve shown through Your prophet Zephaniah. Protect me as I proclaim Your goodness to all. Amen.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” – Psalm 24:1 (KJV)
Throughout 2015, we studied, learned and improved our Christian lives from our church theme: GET FIT. To this end, we applied the principles from Romans 12:1-13 to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, to renew our minds and think soberly, and to prove what is the good and acceptable will of God. This was wonderful preparatory for the coming year as a church family.
As we transitioned into 2016, our church theme was EXPERIENCE GOD. During this leap year, God granted us 366 days to experience Him in new and unique ways that would strengthen our relationships, deepen our love and grow us spiritually. We learned together, from 2 Peter 1:3-10, that we must apply seven (7) attributes/characteristics to our lives so that we would not be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are: Holiness; knowledge; self-control; patience; Godliness; brotherly kindness; and love.
Now, we have reached another new year – 2017!! This year’s theme is OWN IT! Our foundational Scripture is Romans 14:12 and it’s all about accountability. Defined, it means responsibility for our own acts. Throughout the year, we will learn together the principles of Christian Living/Liberty. They are, just to name a few:
Prayer: Gracious Father, I chose to be accountable to You for all of my words, thoughts and deeds this year. Teach me how to stay within Your will for my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Wayne Johnson is the Senior Pastor of Accokeek First Church of God in Accokeek, Maryland – is affiliated with Church of God Ministries, Inc. headquartered in Anderson, Indiana.
He is also an internationally certified John Maxwell team speaker, coach, mentor and trainer on leadership strategies and principles – www.kevinwaynejohnson.com